buying first boat
All of the four of the 38 foot Hood/Empacter designs; Bristol 38.8, Gulfstar 38, Wauquiez 38 and Little Harbor 38 are nice boats. they all derive from one of Hood''s ''Robins'', which were his own personal race boats and I believe in the case of the four boats above an IOR one tonner.
There are number of subtle differences in these boats in terms of displacement, bow overhands, and sail area. There were also some big differences in build quality as well with the Little Harbors generally thought to have the nest build quality.
I would disagree a bit with John Drake on one point. None of these boats are considered good light air boats. While Hood was known for minimizing drag in a heavy displacement boat by the use of very rounded sections, these boats still have a lot of weight and a lot of wetted surface for their sail area. While they are boats that sail very well in a moderate breeze, light air is not thier strong suit.
While these are really nice boats in a lot of ways, I also do not think that they make ideal singlehanders. Their small mainsail, stiff spars, and heavy dependence on large overlapping jibs make them difficult boats to sail single-handed.